JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Days after East Tennessee State University’s historic playoff run came to an end, head football coach Randy Sanders announced his plans to retire.
At a press conference Monday, Sanders told members of the media he is retiring following the 2021 season.
A release from ETSU Athletics states that Sanders has had a 33-year coaching career, with four spent at ETSU. Under Sanders, the Bucs won two Southern Conference championships.
“I want to thank Dr. Brian Noland and Scott Carter for giving me the opportunity to lead the ETSU football program,” said Sanders. “This wasn’t an easy decision. I have been fortunate to coach football for over 30 years, and I’ve really enjoyed my time at ETSU, but I am ready for the next chapter. I am looking forward to spending time with my family and being around my grandchildren. I will forever be a Buccaneer and I am grateful for all the friendships I have made during my time at ETSU.”
“It has been an honor and privilege to work with Coach Sanders these past four years,” said ETSU Athletic Director Scott Carter. “The championship culture and expectation of excellence he established for our football program was remarkable. Thank you for your friendship and tireless commitment to being our head football coach. You will forever be remembered as one of the all-time great ETSU Buccaneers who has taught us all to call our own play… I love you Coach, thank you!”
Sanders led the ETSU Bucs to their first playoff victory since 1996 against Kennesaw State.
ETSU Athletics reports Sanders had a .605 win percentage, which is the second-highest of all Bucs coaches, with Hall of Fame coach Gene McMurray having the highest percentage.
The Bucs made it to the quarterfinals of the FCS championship before losing 27-3 against North Dakota State in Fargo, ND on Saturday.
The Bucs kicked off their historic season with a commanding win over Vanderbilt in Nashville.
This is a developing story. Stay with News Channel 11 online and on-air for updates.